The University of Pittsburgh will require all of its students to “shelter-in-place” upon their return for the school’s spring semester as the United States continues to break records for COVID-19 cases.

“A University-wide shelter-in-place period will begin on Saturday, Jan. 8 on all campuses for students in University housing,” the school said in a memo to students. “During the shelter-in-place period, students should only leave their rooms or apartments to attend classes, labs or clinicals in person (if in-person classes were approved by the dean of your school); pick up food; exercise safely; study in the library; work when necessary; and shop for essentials and medical needs.”

The shelter-in-place order will last for an undetermined amount of time, until the university deems it safe for students to return to campus activities as normal.

The school also said that some buildings will be closed, and instructed students to do group projects virtually, and to limit close contact with others while wearing masks and socially distancing.

“The next best approach is to establish pods based on those with whom you cohabitate (a hallmark of quarantine or shelter-in-place protocols),” the memo said. “You could be unmasked in the presence of your pod mates. Avoid new close contacts.”

The school is also ordering all students to take a COVID-19 test before they travel back to the school from their winter break. Unvaccinated students will have to take another test before they are allowed to reenter on-campus housing.

The pandemic is entering its third year of ravaging the nation and disrupting daily life.

Meanwhile, the mental health of college students continues to suffer.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) 71 percent of college students reported increased stress and anxiety during the pandemic. The study found that 86 percent have had fewer social interactions with other students due to physical distancing.

The University of Pittsburgh did not respond to a comment request.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Pennsylvania Daily Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “University of Pittsburgh Students” by the University of Pittsburgh.